Vino In My Dino

Cellar Update: Business as Usual in Unusual Times

April 16, 2020 16:10

Cellar Update: Business as Usual in Unusual Times

Like the birds singing and the vines pushing leaves, the wines in the cellar don’t notice our shelter in place orders and cellar life goes on as usual in an unusual time. And cellar work like bottling and barrel work are considered essential and we are allowed by the state of California to carry on with production. Without this support I am not sure how our wines and vineyards would survive a long pause in the middle of things.

Our team, pictured above, include winemaker Montse Reece along with cellarmaster Polo Cano on the right and cellar assistant Beto Cortez. April is the height of production for them and knowing how important it is to keep on schedule when it comes to bottling, I asked winemaker Montse Reece to give me an idea of what goes into the preparation. Here is a step by step glimpse at what it takes when she works with the team to ready the wines:

“First I make sure we are going to have everything we need for bottling on time: glass, corks, labels, capsules. In the cellar the wine in question has to be blended, fined (in the case of reds), stabilized (for whites and rosé) and filtered. Editor's note: The tank pictured here is being cold stabilized-which means chilled close to freezing to drop the tartrates out-if it wasn't cold stabilized you would get 'wine diamonds' which are harmless and definitely don't taste good.Cold Stabilization Tank

Before the wine gets to be bottled I run all the analysis: acidity, pH, alcohol, volatile acidity, malic acid, residual sugars, sulphur, specific gravity, CO2 and make any final adjustments if needed.

A few days before bottling, Cellarmaster Polo Cano will filter the wine. We use a crossflow filter. After that he and his crew will sanitize the line and get it ready for bottling. On the morning of bottling day the filler bowl, housing and filters are sterilized for 20 min at 180F. Polo does the sterilization by combining hot water and steam.

Once we start bottling, Polo and I do line checks, the first check is at the beginning (7:30 am) with three more spanning the day. We check the oxygen concentration inside the empty bottle before it enters the filler bowl as well as the dissolved oxygen in the wine once it is in the bottle, the vacuum pressure in the corks or the torque pressure in the screw caps, wine temperature, fill levels and pressure on the filters.”

Friends Red BottlingSo many layers of checking and cross checking happen with each and every wine bottled, and remember we make 21 different wines, and what does this mean for you? It delivers a bottle of wine with great attention to detail and the resulting consistent quality. These wines will be released over the next few months just as we are coming out of our shelter in place. As time moves on so does Mother Nature and continues to bring us warmer weather. More of our wines will be bottled and the vines will march toward vintage 2020. 


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